How to Light Charcoal; 5 Different Methods

Charcoal is often used for cooking and grilling, but it can also be a great addition to your home decor. You need the right tools in order to properly light charcoal; here are five different methods you may use!

The “how to light charcoal without lighter fluid” is a common question that many people have. There are 5 different methods for doing this, as well as safety precautions to take when using the method.

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Lighting charcoal is a must-have for grilling and as an alternate source of heat when camping or in a cabin. Although it is easy to ignite them, there are suitable procedures and numerous ways to do so.

There are various methods for lighting charcoal listed below. It’s also vital to keep track of how much charcoal you’re using and, most importantly, understand safety precautions ahead of time.

Contents Table of Contents


  • Charcoal Lighting Options
  • What Is the Right Amount of Charcoal to Use?
  • Fire Safety & Disposal
  • Conclusion


Charcoal Lighting Options

There are many ways to ignite charcoal, as previously stated. Modern equipment may make lighting charcoal lot simpler, especially now that we have access to technology. The ways for lighting charcoal are listed here, starting with the old process and progressing to the use of contemporary tools.

Twigs and Paper

Going back to traditional methods, you can light charcoal by simply using Twigs and Papers. The issue will just be lighting the papers and twigs long enough for the charcoal to ignite. 

Simply take some paper and ignite it on a twig bundle. Continue to add twigs until the structure is solid enough to put charcoal around it, and maybe a little on top of it.

There is a 50% probability that it will go extinct. If it doesn’t, and your charcoal starts to burn, blow on it to help it burn even faster. It’ll gradually spread by then, and all you have to do now is mix and swirl the charcoal about.

Fluid that is lighter

If using chemicals is not a problem for you, then Fluid that is lighters is the easiest way to do so. Many people don’t mind using Fluid that is lighter to ignite their pile of charcoal. Personally, I can taste the Fluid that is lighter on my food so this is my least favorite way to light charcoal.


Furthermore, Fluid that is lighter can be easily found in a lot of places, such as:

  • Grocery
  • Convenience shops (convenience stores)
  • Shops located outside
  • Sporting goods retailers

Although using Fluid that is lighter is the easiest way to light the charcoal, it is probably the worst way to do so as well. This goes for the other counterparts of Fluid that is lighter, including kerosene.

These liquids will soak into the coals if used in this manner. The coals will emit hazardous gases that are not good to breath or even cook with after they have been wet and lit, giving your meal a chemical-like aftertaste. 

Another thing to note is the platform or tool you are utilizing when you use Fluid that is lighter. For example, you should never use Fluid that is lighter on ceramic because, as a porous material, the chemicals from the Fluid that is lighter will absorb into the ceramic. If you happen to do so, then every food you cook on the ceramic will give out that after taste. You might as well throw it away. 

Starters for Chimneys


The Chimney starting method is one of the most effective and often used ways for lighting your charcoal. Many people have started buying the chimney starter since it makes lighting a huge quantity of charcoal relatively simple.

Filling the top portion of your chimney starter with charcoal should be your initial step. Use any combustibles at the bottom to fire the coals. 

The way a chimney starter works is built in such a manner that it generates an updraft. The fire intensifies from there, and the coals on top are instantly ignited. The temperature of the coals should begin to climb and become white between 10 and 15 minutes. The coals will be ready to utilize at that moment.



Another common gadget for easily igniting charcoal is the looftlighter. Simply speaking, a looftlighter is an enormous lighter made exclusively for lighting charcoal. Make sure the charcoal and the grill are set up the way you want them before you put the looftlighter in. 

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The next step is to insert the looftlighter into the charcoal, focusing on the middle. Once you’ve got it where you want it, turn on the looftlighter. The looftlighter will light and heat up the charcoal, causing it to light. 

Starter (electric)


Starter (electric)s look sort of like a coil or a branding tool used in cattle. The end of the Starter (electric) heats up when you activate it.

Before using the Starter (electric), make sure you arrange your coals how you’d like them. After that, stick the Starter (electric), specifically the heated coil, into the charcoal pile. Leave it there for several minutes, and the coals should start heating up and ignite. 

Once the center starts heating up, pull the coil out of the pile and mix the charcoal together, to distribute the heat. The Starter (electric) will only ignite the coals that the coil touches, which is why you should mix the coil up to touch as many briquets as possible.

What Is the Right Amount of Charcoal to Use?

When it comes to utilizing charcoal, there is a set of rules to follow. The more charcoal you put up, the hotter your fire will be. 

It also relies on the strategy you want to use and how you intend to employ it. The following are some of the most important reasons to utilize charcoal:

  • Cooking
  • Providing heat & warmth
  • a light source

When using a chimney starter to cook burger patties and grill veggies, for example, you just need to load the charcoal halfway. If you want to barbecue ribs and big steaks, however, you should fill the chimney starter all the way up. Cooking thicker meat slices necessitates the use of additional charcoal. 

If you are using a Looftlighter or Starter (electric), the more charcoal you put, the more patience you will need. You just have to keep stirring and mixing the charcoal until all of them are equally ignited.

Make sure you dispose of the charcoal ashes when you’ve finished using them. After grilling, leaving ashes lowers the capacity of heat to escape. If this is the case, your meal may be coated with charcoal residue, which is unpleasant to eat. 

Fire Safety & Disposal

When it comes to lighting your charcoal, fire safety is perhaps the most crucial consideration. The National Fire Protection Association established grilling fire safety advice to limit the likelihood of any fire-related mishaps.

Here are some safety things to remember:

  • Be extremely cautious when using Fluid that is lighter, especially the amount you are using. Use a little bit at a time
  • When your charcoal is already lit, don’t add any more liquid.
  • Dispose of hot ashes with caution, and be aware of where you’re dumping them.

Ashes must also be properly disposed of, but they must be cold to the touch before being placed elsewhere. Make sure the ashes are properly disposed of in locations where children and dogs cannot get them. Yes, the yard is out, and be aware that wet ashes may be quite dangerous as well. 


With the correct equipment, heating charcoal is a straightforward operation. Even if you don’t have access to contemporary tools, you can always make do with what you have in your yard or campground.

However, just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s not risky if you don’t know what you’re doing. Please be aware of all dangers and have a fire extinguisher available at all times.


The “no lighter fluid hack” is a simple way to light charcoal. The 5 different methods that are described in the article, allow users to light charcoal without using lighter fluid.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to light your charcoal?

A: Charcoal is a material made of finely ground carbon and can be lit by heating it up in your grill. To light charcoal, use some lighter fluid or a match.

How do you light charcoal step by step?

A: To light charcoal, you need to find the carbon. You can do this by using a chemical test kit or by breaking off some coal and looking for black specks on it. Once you have found your charcoal, make sure that there is no moisture in the bag as well as having enough air flow through it so that it doesnt burn up too quickly. Then take a lighter or Lighter Fluid (this will help prevent combustion) and ignite one corner of the bag with an open flame just long enough to get things started then go over it with tongs until all of the pieces are lit

How do you light a charcoal fire?

A: Charcoal is an organic material that burns slowly and produces a lot of ash. If you want to light your charcoal, use dryer lint or newspaper in the bottom of the grill. Once it starts smoking, add more fuel on top until flames come out from the screen opening at one end of the cooker.

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